The accounts and videos were dismissed only after News brought them to Twitter’s awareness on Wednesday. Twitter did not comment as to why it dismissed the accounts or why they had been authorized to remain alive for so long.
Sen. Mark Warner, the principal Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told News he was bothered by the findings and Twitter’s response.
“Twitter shouldn’t wait for Congress or anybody else to send a ‘to-do’ list with specific statements to delete,” Warner said in a statement given to News. “The corporation needs to take responsibility and be proactive about stopping Russians and other bad actors who are abusing its platform.”
Last fall, Twitter presented Congress with a list of 2,752 accounts that it said were connected to the Internet Research Agency, a troll organization based in St Petersburg, Russia, with ties to the Kremlin.
Among the accounts, Twitter gave congresses were @GUNS4LIFE_ME and @PoliceStateMe. Both Twitter reports were suspended, but their associated Vine accounts, @GUNS4LIFE, and @PoliceState, were still live as of Wednesday morning.
The Vine reports were first discovered by a Twitter user, who alerted News to their presence.
Vines are six-second videos that are connected on repeat. Vine was obtained by Twitter in 2012, but in 2016 Twitter declared it was effectively closing the service by impairing future video uploads. However, Twitter reserves the Vine archive meaning videos posted to the site before uploads were disabled can still be observed and shared.
The Police State Vine account posted more than 600 videos explaining incidents of alleged police wrongdoing in the United States. The story began posting in September 2015 and stopped suddenly in August 2016. 25,000 accounts proposed to the account’s feed, and its videos were “looped” more than 6 million times.
The Police State Vine report links back to the now-suspended Police State Twitter account. News found data through cached pages that the Twitter account shared content from the Vine account, showing the accounts were connected.
Another account, GUNS4LIFE, posted more than 600 videos that were connected more than 8 million times. That account also seemed to be active from September 2015 before closing suddenly in August 2016.
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